ICC Trophy escape route
If Hong Kong fail to finish in the finals at the Asian Cricket Council Trophy, they will still stand a slim chance of making it to the ICC Trophy in Ireland next year - if they finish amongst the top five teams here.
ACC official Anil Kalaver revealed that while the two finalists in this 15-team competition will secure their berths for next July's ICC Trophy - the 2007 World Cup qualifying competition for associate members - three more teams will enter another playoff competition with the rest of the world for one last berth for the ICC Trophy.
'The two finalists will represent Asia at the ICC Trophy in Ireland next July. The two losing semi-finalists and the fifth-placed team here will still be in with a chance as they will enter a playoff competition to be also played in Kuala Lumpur in February,' explained Kalaver. 'This playoff competition will have three teams from Asia, two from Europe, two from Africa and one from America, totaling eight. Only one berth is available from this competition to the ICC Trophy.'
The easier path for Hong Kong would be to enter the finals on June 22 at this tournament. That would secure the SAR a direct entry to the ICC Trophy. But if they fail, the other option will be trickier as they will then have to come up against stronger opposition from teams, especially from Europe.
The ICC Trophy in Ireland will be contested by 12 teams who will be divided into two groups of six. Five World Cup places are available to associate members for the 2007 tournament to be played in the West Indies.